The keynote for Friday, entitled "The Spiritualit of Politics: An Ecological and Legal View," was given by Dominican Sister Pat Sieman, JD. Sister Pat is the director of the Center of Earth Jurisprudence. The mission of this group is to re-envision law and governance in ways that support and protect the well-being of the entire Earth community. In her talk, Sister Pat pointed out that we are living in a time of great urgency. To describe this urgency, Sister spoke of “tipping points” which are slow, gradual changes that becomes irreversible and then proceed with gathering pace. It is derived from the example of a rigid solid object being lifted to a point where it begins to topple.
A spirituality of politics that is most needed to deal with this is one that begins with knowing oneself and the ability to let go of control of a situation, especially in the face of fear. The second practice is to develop an awareness and experience of belonging to a single, interconnected and interdependent, community of being. It is this sense of belonging to a larger reality that can be a source of great hope and creativity. We are not alone; the other members of the world community support and sustain us.
We humans have caused the climate change, build-up of toxic chemicals in the environment and their accumulate effect. We must take seriously the environmental fragility, become aware of the failing civilizations in our world, establish relations with them, and vote for quality political leadership and the social responses to challenges.
Sister Pat closed with practical solutions for religious communities, namely:
- Those communities entrusted with land should create land trusts to be protected for generations;
- We need to ask ourselves, “How much financial security do we need?” Are we supporting youth for the good of the whole – whether or not they are entering our communities?
- Spend time with the arts and nature; and
- Share Eucharist in all ways.
After a break, we boarded buses bound for the U. S. Mission connected with the UN. The US Representatives to the United Nations met with us to discuss our hopes and concerns regarding the US/UN political systems.